The Potluck

Walz announces YMCA child care program; MNSure open enrollment

By: - March 20, 2020 1:31 pm

Gov. Tim Walz on Friday announced a pair of initiatives aimed at helping people enroll in health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 coverage and help emergency workers find child care. Photo by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer

DFL Gov. Tim Walz announced a pair of initiatives on Friday aimed at alleviating health insurance coverage needs, as well as addressing child care concerns for front-line workers laboring to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Starting Monday, March 23, uninsured Minnesotans can enroll for health insurance through for a 30-day period ending April 21.

“Every Minnesotan deserves access to health coverage during this uncertain time,” Walz said in a statement. “This critical action will help ensure Minnesotans can receive the care they need during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Individuals seeking coverage can visit to complete an application and enroll in coverage. Plans selected by April 21 will have a retroactive coverage start date beginning April 1.

State officials also announced a partnership with the YMCA to  provide distance learning and childcare for children in kindergarten through sixth grade at 38 locations throughout Minnesota

It will prioritize children of emergency workers, including educators, grocery store workers, utility workers, essential state and local government staff, among others.

The YMCA child care partnership also starts Monday and will provide care from 8:30 a.m. through 5 p.m. during the week for children five and older. 

“It’s critical that our school-age children are learning in a safe and supportive environment, especially during a pandemic” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a statement. “I’m grateful to the YMCA for helping to fill the gap where our school systems are not able to serve all emergency worker needs.”

A full list of locations is available at The cost is $40 per day and locations will coordinate with school districts on food drop-off sites. Registration is open and accessible at or 612-230-9622.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.